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Your Rights as a Driver if You Hit a Stationary Object

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 5 May 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Your Rights As A Driver If You Hit A Stationary Object

If you are involved in a road traffic accident that involves a stationary object, it will often be assumed that you are automatically at fault – because you were driving a moving vehicle and the object or car that you hit was still - but is this always the case?

There are lots of accidents including stationary objects every day, most often involving skips, a car being parked in an unusual or dangerous place or unlit road works, and you might find that whoever left the object there may be liable to some extent.

What To Do If The Accident Was Not Your Fault

Whether the stationary object that you hit was in the road itself or at the side of it, if you feel that the collision wasn’t entirely your fault you should make notes and take photographs of the scene and the object in question so that you can provide evidence if the matter is investigated further by the police or by your insurance company.

There are several factors from which it can determined whether or not you are considered to be responsible for the incident. To determine this you will need to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and return to the scene of the bump and consider the following questions:

  • Was the item marked so that it was visible to an approaching driver?
  • If the collision occurred at night was the object lit so that approaching driver could see it clearly and give themselves time to avoid it? In the case of skips there should be flashing lights to indicate where the skip starts and ends, and how far away from the road it is.
  • If the object was not clearly lit or made visible then the owner is responsible. This is usually in the case of parked cars or private skips. If there were roadworks involved, or a hole dug in the road, then whoever is in charge of carrying out the work is responsible and needs to be contacted. You may need to check the item carefully to see if you can figure out who the owners are - a utility company such as gas, electricity or water board, a contractor carrying out work for a private or public company, or perhaps a local authority. Make a note of the owners contact details, or ask around to find out who the obstruction belongs to or is the responsibility of.
  • Once you have this information, set about taking any photographic evidence that you can to prove your point.
  • If the object was unlit or in a dangerous position, make sure you take photographs that illustrate this, and try to include something in the photograph that can indicate scale - for example, a CD.
  • If the object has been left actually on the road in an unsafe position or in a way that contravenes the highway code then the owner of the vehicle or object may be found to be liable for the accident.
  • If there have been any previous accidents or issues caused by the obstruction, then it is likely that this could count as evidence that the object was the reason that the accident took place, or at least was a contributing factor.
  • If possible you should gather any witness who saw the collision and would be willing to say that the object you hit constituted a dangerous obstruction, and that it was not your fault that you could avoid it.

It’s always worth remembering that without proof to the contrary, it is likely that a court or insurance company will believe that it is your fault and will assume either a fault claim or a split fault claim with the owner of the object. So the best tip is for you to collect as much information and evidence from the scene as you can, to corroborate your story.

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If I was in a parking bay on a housing astate or a one-way system and a car parked behind me half of the curb half on the road Idid not see them In my mirrors I’m driving a transit van reversed out of the parking bay and hit the car parked half on half off who’s fault is it
Drew - 5-May-20 @ 7:53 PM
Hi, I was driving slowly and when turned left in a narrow road ( accommodating only one car at the time at each direction to move) there was a car speeding towards me and pulled on the left in order for them to pass, however when I did that I touched - literally touched on the side in the exhaust a moped which was parked on a double yellow line and unfortunately it did fall on the side over the pavement. Stopped the car, went out, lifted the moped and assessed for damage. All appeared ok, owner came, looked as well, wanted my details for insurance as he said it was dark and could not assess if there was any damage. I called my insurance explained in detail what had happened and they told me that is purely my fault, they would register this as an incident, I would have to declare if for the next 3 years and also I have one strike on my NCB. I genuinely feel very frustrated as I had to choose either to have a collision with the speeding car towards me or to pul towards the pavement which was parked the moped on the double yellow lines. Took a lot of pictures, insurers did not want to see them and they said to me is purely my fault. I am devastated that there is no accountability on the person that has obstructed partially the road andthere would be no accident if they would have parked normally. I would hugely appreciated your opinion, thank you in anticipation.
Doubleyellowline - 20-Dec-19 @ 2:43 PM
Hi, I was driving slowly and when turned left in a narrow road ( accommodating only one car at the time at each direction to move) there was a car speeding towards me and pulled on the left in order for them to pass, however when I did that I touched - literally touched on the side in the exhaust a moped which was parked on a double yellow line and unfortunately it did fall on the side over the pavement. Stopped the car, went out, lifted the moped and assessed for damage. All appeared ok, owner came, looked as well, wanted my details for insurance as he said it was dark and could not assess if there was any damage. I called my insurance explained in detail what had happened and they told me that is purely my fault, they would register this as an incident, I would have to declare if for the next 3 years and also I have one strike on my NCB. I genuinely feel very frustrated as I had to choose either to have a collision with the speeding car towards me or to pul towards the pavement which was parked the moped on the double yellow lines. Took a lot of pictures, insurers did not want to see them and they said to me is purely my fault. I am devastated that there is no accountability on the person that has obstructed partially the road andthere would be no accident if they would have parked normally. I would hugely appreciated your opinion, thank you in anticipation.
Doubleyellowline - 19-Dec-19 @ 12:14 PM
Hi, I was driving slowly and when turned left in a narrow road ( accommodating only one car at the time at each direction to move) there was a car speeding towards me and pulled on the left in order for them to pass, however when I did that I touched - literally touched on the side in the exhaust a moped which was parked on a double yellow line and unfortunately it did fall on the side over the pavement. Stopped the car, went out, lifted the moped and assessed for damage. All appeared ok, owner came, looked as well, wanted my details for insurance as he said it was dark and could not assess if there was any damage. I called my insurance explained in detail what had happened and they told me that is purely my fault, they would register this as an incident, I would have to declare if for the next 3 years and also I have one strike on my NCB. I genuinely feel very frustrated as I had to choose either to have a collision with the speeding car towards me or to pul towards the pavement which was parked the moped on the double yellow lines. Took a lot of pictures, insurers did not want to see them and they said to me is purely my fault. I am devastated that there is no accountability on the person that has obstructed partially the road andthere would be no accident if they would have parked normally. I would hugely appreciated your opinion, thank you in anticipation.
Doubleyellowline - 19-Dec-19 @ 12:13 PM
Hi, I was driving slowly and when turned left in a narrow road ( accommodating only one car at the time at each direction to move) there was a car speeding towards me and pulled on the left in order for them to pass, however when I did that I touched - literally touched on the side in the exhaust a moped which was parked on a double yellow line and unfortunately it did fall on the side over the pavement. Stopped the car, went out, lifted the moped and assessed for damage. All appeared ok, owner came, looked as well, wanted my details for insurance as he said it was dark and could not assess if there was any damage. I called my insurance explained in detail what had happened and they told me that is purely my fault, they would register this as an incident, I would have to declare if for the next 3 years and also I have one strike on my NCB. I genuinely feel very frustrated as I had to choose either to have a collision with the speeding car towards me or to pul towards the pavement which was parked the moped on the double yellow lines. Took a lot of pictures, insurers did not want to see them and they said to me is purely my fault. I am devastated that there is no accountability on the person that has obstructed partially the road andthere would be no accident if they would have parked normally. I would hugely appreciated your opinion, thank you in anticipation.
Doubleyellowline - 18-Dec-19 @ 9:38 PM
Hi, I was driving slowly and when turned left in a narrow road ( accommodating only one car at the time at each direction to move) there was a car speeding towards me and pulled on the left in order for them to pass, however when I did that I touched - literally touched on the side in the exhaust a moped which was parked on a double yellow line and unfortunately it did fall on the side over the pavement. Stopped the car, went out, lifted the moped and assessed for damage. All appeared ok, owner came, looked as well, wanted my details for insurance as he said it was dark and could not assess if there was any damage. I called my insurance explained in detail what had happened and they told me that is purely my fault, they would register this as an incident, I would have to declare if for the next 3 years and also I have one strike on my NCB. I genuinely feel very frustrated as I had to choose either to have a collision with the speeding car towards me or to pul towards the pavement which was parked the moped on the double yellow lines. Took a lot of pictures, insurers did not want to see them and they said to me is purely my fault. I am devastated that there is no accountability on the person that has obstructed partially the road andthere would be no accident if they would have parked normally. I would hugely appreciated your opinion, thank you in anticipation.
Doubleyellowline - 18-Dec-19 @ 9:34 PM
I hit a low wall about 5-6 bricks high, wasnt lit up was dark at the time, there was no street lamps, so couldn't see this wall whilst trying to turn around my van, the owner wants to go through my insurance what can I do?
John619 - 10-Dec-19 @ 11:36 PM
Hi Please could I have some advise, I hit a stationary vehicle which was on the a14 in the outside lane therefore dangerous and illegal. It did not have any hazard lights on and it was dark therefore completely invisible to see until the last minute. The vehicle I have since found was uninsured as well. I’m badly injured as a result of this and my car was written off. Due to the circumstances I don’t feel I should be held at fault. Thanks for your help.
Naomi - 8-Nov-19 @ 5:31 PM
Whilst parked on a shopping centre car park, I began reversing out when I collided with a parked vehicle in the space behind. This vehicle was equipped with a towing trailer which was sticking out of their vehicle space into the road way by approximately 4 feet. The trailer was what I hit. I didn't see it due to the angle it was parked at and sticking out. And the height of it was above my cars reversing sensors so they didn't even detect it until I heard the noise of the impact. Is this their fault? As I feel the trailer was parked illegally and consistuted an obstruction in the road?
Jay - 1-Sep-19 @ 1:20 PM
I was in a car park space when I started reversing out of it when a car come round the corner and parked right behind me on double yellows, the time I stopped I had hit the. Who is at fault?
Kev - 24-Aug-19 @ 7:13 PM
Please can you give advice re the following : I was parked in a school car park on a dark evening (son was football training) and reversed into a metal post which was positioned at least 2' from a wall to protect the classroom wall. It was in an unlit area, the post was painted dark blue, had no reflective markings and was below the sight of my rear window. Even when I hit it I had no idea what I'd hit. I have photos which are so dark you can barely see anything at all - video evidence is somewhat better but still very dark. The site manager happened to wander past and said he puts tape on the post but it gets picked off. Also said he's had incidents with it before. In my opinion the school is at fault (yes I hit it, but wouldn't have done so if I could have seen it). Any suggestions on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
lui - 6-May-19 @ 12:40 PM
I was in a private car park in a parking bay and reversed out and hit a car parked half on half off Kirby behind me. Am I doubly to blame. I feel had he have not been there I would have had the room to reverse out properly
Ed - 24-Apr-19 @ 6:44 AM
I was ridding my motorbike home from work early January when I had an accident, I did hit a traffic island and the signs were missing, I have made a claim against the Council for liability about the signs being missing on the traffic island, they have come to me saying that the Council isnt liable for the accident! I would like to know where I stand in this situation? Any advice?
Joey - 11-Mar-19 @ 9:25 PM
Hello, I have recently hit a parked car in a private car park at work and left my contact number as I was unaware of who's car I had hit. A few days later I was approached and asked if I had hit the car. I owned up that I had hit the car and the persons car I hit advised he didnt want to go through the insurance. We both agreed to find some quotes and get this resolved. It has been three weeks and the persons car I have hit has now demanded over £700 for the damage however he has made the damage worse by trying to polish out the scratches and is trying to charge me for damage I havent caused. What do I do in this instance?
Strop3608 - 11-Mar-19 @ 9:05 PM
My insurance company want me to pay 50% of the cost and I consider this unreasonable. I was parked on a narrow one way street with a speed limit of 20 and after looking in my mirror opened the driver side door to exit the vehicle. Another vehicle caught me and although I received no damage his wing mirror was broken. What do you think?
T - 15-Nov-18 @ 12:14 PM
My insurance company want me to pay 50% of the cost of a wing mirror when opening my door (after looking in the mirror though this cannot be proven) after a vehicle caught my stationary car, which as not damaged. Surely this is not acceptable? Please advise.
T - 15-Nov-18 @ 12:12 PM
Please can you give advice re the following : I was parked in a school car park on a dark evening (son was football training) and reversed into a metal post which was positioned at least 2' from a wall to protect the classroom wall. It was in an unlit area, the post was painted dark blue, had no reflective markings and was below the sight of my rear window. Even when I hit it I had no idea what I'd hit. I have photos which are so dark you can barely see anything at all - video evidence is somewhat better but still very dark. The site manager happened to wander past and said he puts tape on the post but it gets picked off. Also said he's had incidents with it before. In my opinion the school is at fault (yes I hit it, but wouldn't have done so if I could have seen it). Any suggestions on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Debs - 5-Oct-18 @ 6:37 PM
On a nice sunny dry afternoon in central London. i drove up the wrong way on a one way road (its about 20 meters long). When i drove up half way I noticed a one way sign facing backwards, I stopped straight away. My vehicle was stationary for good 10 seconds, I was looking around and to the back of my vehicle to reverse out, or find space to turn around. Its then that a vehicle turned into the one way system (the correct way) drove half way through it and hit the front of my vehicle. It didn't even bother breaking. I was 100% visible and the driver had good 4/5 second's to spot me. Who is liable for this collision?
Rash - 24-May-18 @ 5:07 AM
A few days ago I was trying to negotiate the little side road to my home at school pick up time and as usual cars are parked everywhere but after battling through to the last few cars and I came across 1 that was parked right on a bend leaving little to no room to pass a prime example of dangerously parked. 1.on a blind bend 2 dangerously parkedwithout any consideration 3. Blocking the road so no vehicles could pass or even move due to total grid lock 4. Location is hot spot causing accidents constantly 5. Topical school mum parking were is closest, I kid you not I've even had to wait to get on my drive cus 1 mum parked actually on my driveways. APPOLAGISE TO THE SAINE MUM'S OUT THERE. WE'LLI SCRAPED CORNER OF THE CAR BUT STOPPED AND WAITED TO GIVE DETAILS BUT ACTUALLY I STRONGLY DON'T BELIEVE IT'S MY FAULT
Fordy - 10-Apr-18 @ 3:46 AM
A few days ago I was trying to negotiate the little side road to my home at school pick up time and as usual cars are parked everywhere but after battling through to the last few cars and I came across 1 that was parked right on a bend leaving little to no room to pass a prime example of dangerously parked. 1.on a blind bend 2 dangerously parkedwithout any consideration 3. Blocking the road so no vehicles could pass or even move due to total grid lock 4. Location is hot spot causing accidents constantly 5. Topical school mum parking were is closest, I kid you not I've even had to wait to get on my drive cus 1 mum parked actually on my driveways. APPOLAGISE TO THE SAINE MUM'S OUT THERE. WE'LLI SCRAPED CORNER OF THE CAR BUT STOPPED AND WAITED TO GIVE DETAILS BUT ACTUALLY I STRONGLY DON'T BELIEVE IT'S MY FAULT
Antony Ford - 1-Apr-18 @ 5:17 AM
I was pulling into a drive which I believed was a customers. The drive was on an incline and didn’t notice the dark oak post that was 10inches out the ground. I realised it was there when I can to a sudden halt. It ended up smashing my radiator and did damage to my car. I’ve offered to pay for the damage but believe that the post should have been painted so it was visible. The bloke has said he’s had a quote to repair and said a stupid amount. I believe he is trying to get the rest of the drive repaired as it’s in a bad way. Am I 100% at fault or is it possible that this post should have been made more visible and could be 50/50. Thanks James
James - 27-Mar-18 @ 10:04 PM
Al - Your Question:
So I was driving down a road and a car was parked quite far out in the road and it’s very snowy, another car was parked on other side of road so naturally after 6 years of driving I tried to slightly bend to fit nicely between yet the snow made my car skidd into their car, my argument is why was your car so far into the road? Am I wrong

Our Response:
Usually if there is an obstruction in the road, you would stop and see if it could be moved, rather than hit it though. Your insurer will be able to give advice if you provide more detail.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 2-Mar-18 @ 11:11 AM
So I was driving down a road and a car was parked quite far out in the road and it’s very snowy, another car was parked on other side of road so naturally after 6 years of driving i tried to slightly bend to fit nicely between yet the snow made my car skidd into their car, my argument is why was your car so far into the road? Am I wrong
Al - 28-Feb-18 @ 12:45 AM
Alps - Your Question:
I was travelling to London and a foreign object hit my vehicle on the M1 near to Juntion 15 towards Wellingborough/ Northampton. I have a dash cam in my car show so I was able to record the footage. I believe that the object had come off from a broken down car on the other side of the motorway (travelling in the opposite direction). We know it was damaged because there was traffic built up on the other side of the motorway and we drove past the vehicle when the AA towed my car back home.The footage shows that the object initally richochets off one car that is in the 2nd hand lane and travels in the direction of my car, hits the front bumper and then goes underneath my car where the object gets trapped for a little while.I stopped on the hard shoulder because me and my friend could smell petrol in the car. There has been damage to my front bumper, which I have had to claim on my insurance. The smell of the petrol come from the other vehicle that the object initially hit. I have sent two videos to my insurance company, however this has been deemed a fault claim. Is this correct? I have proof and a witness of the incident that shows that this was not my fault. Is it fair that my insurance premium will increase, I will lose my no-claims bonus and I’ll have to declare this as a claim when next renew my car insurance?

Our Response:
If you didn't give specific details of the other vehicle (at fault) including the name and insurer etc your own insurer probably doesn't have much choice here.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 12-Jan-18 @ 3:19 PM
Driving through a side road in very foggy conditionswhere I crashed into a sphere bollard behind a student accommodation which was low on the floor and very stupidly positioned. Passers-by said that this has happened many times and was recently put there to stop trucks. What can I do about this
Uncle - 11-Jan-18 @ 9:43 PM
I was travelling to London and a foreign object hit my vehicle on the M1 near to Juntion 15 towards Wellingborough/ Northampton. I have a dash cam in my car show so I was able to record the footage. I believe that the object had come off from a broken down car on the other side of the motorway (travelling in the opposite direction). We know it was damaged because there was traffic built up on the other side of the motorway and we drove past the vehicle when the AA towed my car back home. The footage shows that the object initally richochets off one car that is in the 2nd hand lane and travels in the direction of my car, hits the front bumper and then goes underneath my car where the object gets trapped for a little while. I stopped on the hard shoulder because me and my friend could smell petrol in the car. There has been damage to my front bumper, which I have had to claim on my insurance. The smell of the petrol come from the other vehicle that the object initially hit. I have sent two videos to my insurance company, however this has been deemed a fault claim. Is this correct? I have proof and a witness of the incident that shows that this was not my fault. Is it fair that my insurance premium will increase, I will lose my no-claims bonus and I’ll have to declare this as a claim when next renew my car insurance?
Alps - 10-Jan-18 @ 9:13 PM
Mski - Your Question:
I had taxi stationary with driver parked outside my pub on double yellows. I stopped behind waiting for it to move but after a minute or so I decided to come out and tell them to move. Because I rushed I didn’t put handbrake on and my car start rolling towards the taxi. With little time to think I have put my leg in between cars stopping my car hitting the taxi. As I had my leg stuck between cars and nobody actually coming out of it I lightly knocked to which passenger of a taxi helped and put handbrake in my car. Taxi driver came out minute after and inspected bumper saying she thinks there is a crack, far from a spot my leg actually touched her car. The force was not big as my leg was absolutely fine, but she asked for me to cover costs of split bumper. I do not believe I made the damage and although I gave her my details as it was stressful situation we didn’t take photos or anything. Where do I stand on that?

Our Response:
We can't give opinions on liability where we don't have both parties' versions of events unfortunately. Ask the other party to speak to her insurer. Your own insurance company will deal with it on your behalf too.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 27-Nov-17 @ 3:35 PM
I had taxi stationary with driver parked outside my pub on double yellows. I stopped behind waiting for it to move but after a minute or so I decided to come out and tell them to move. Because I rushed I didn’t put handbrake on and my car start rolling towards the taxi. With little time to think I have put my leg in between cars stopping my car hitting the taxi. As I had my leg stuck between cars and nobody actually coming out of it I lightly knocked to which passenger of a taxi helped and put handbrake in my car. Taxi driver came out minute after and inspected bumper saying she thinks there is a crack, far from a spot my leg actually touched her car. The force was not big as my leg was absolutely fine, but she asked for me to cover costs of split bumper. I do not believe I made the damage and although I gave her my details as it was stressful situation we didn’t take photos or anything. Where do I stand on that?
Mski - 24-Nov-17 @ 12:43 PM
My boyfriend was reversing out my drive and scratched my neighbours car , they got the police to us , on arriving the police noticed that my neighbours bumper was obstructing my drive and was causing a blind spot , what should we do ?
Ricey - 13-Nov-17 @ 12:38 PM
Adrian - Your Question:
Hi, I was driving through a hospital car park in a swb panel van to visit a sick friend. The car park is run and and owned by a third party. I followed all the signs to the car park that first directed the traffic straight on then "must" turn left (blue circle, white arrow) into a two way road (give way road markings on the road for oncoming traffic). After turning left I noted there were double yellow lines and a hatched yellow area in front of, what appeared to be the entrance to the car park taken to mean "keep this area clear". I then turned left into the apparent entrance but came to an abrupt halt and a loud bang on the passenger door of the van. After inspecting I noted that someone had freshly tarmaced a steel bollard one third the way into the entrance and about a foot into the yellow hatched area that could not be seen from the drivers side of the van. I have dash cam footage (which does not show the bollard in the drivers view) and lots of photographs showing the bollard had in fact been moved three times, each time further into the yellow hatched area evidenced by previous squares of tarmac. This has been reported to my insurance company and they agree the fault is with the car park owners as the signage directs drivers into this road and is clearly marked as a clearway in front of the apparent entrance, nor were there any signs to indicate a "no entry" but in fact clear markings as noted above with the blue circle and white arrow to turn into this road. The car park owners deny any responsibility. Can you advise whose fault this is please?

Our Response:
We can't advise as to liability on individual cases unfortunately.Your insurer may be willing to pursue it on your behalf (especially if you have legal protection on your cover). Alternatively it might be worth taking legal action yourself.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 25-Oct-17 @ 11:29 AM
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